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Emerging technologies – best to be an early or late adopter?

This is a viewpoint by Ross Fastuca, CIO and cofounder, Travelport Locomote.

VR, AR, AI, 3D printers – a bunch of emerging technologies, increasingly expressed as acronyms or in abbreviations, that many businesses are keen to adopt in order to show they’re taking an innovative approach to modern technology.

But despite understanding its importance, many Australian businesses are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to digital communications technology, deliberately choosing to be late adopters, according to a study conducted by ACMA.

And it’s not just Australian businesses which are reluctant to embrace the new.

Are senior execs falling behind their Millennial counterparts when it comes to technological literacy? Or is early adoption simply an excitement play which often fails to ask whether the specific tech being adopted is a good strategic fit for the business?

To answer such ‘to be or not to be’ dilemmas, let’s take a look at what it means to be an early and late adopter in today’s digital climate.

Barriers to technological uptake

Slow technology uptake in the workplace often stems from a range of concerns among senior execs, such as financial constraints, attitudes and risk.

Or as the ‘Technology and Australia’s Future’ research paper put it:

“Technology adoption can be substantially influenced by attitudes, from both business and customer perspectives. These attitudes can be ingrained, contradictory, and tacit. Collective attitudes – workplace cultures and norms – can also have a substantial influence on the adoption of new technology.”

Resistance to technological change, or technological inertia, is often considered a negative force in the digital environment, delaying and discouraging industry adoption of new management technologies.

Limited protection against poor or aging technological investments has discouraged some from funding new technology. This is in addition to the ‘innovator’s dilemma’, the fear that new technology can damage or disrupt existing business models. Both factors frequently feed business’ resistance to adopting cutting-edge technology.

Does millennial equal early adopter?

In a word, yes. Millennials are rapid tech adopters, with user-friendly advancements in the past decade boosting Gen Y’s expectation that technology just works.

Gen Y craves new experiences and this sense of adventure informs their decision-making, often opting for experiential purchases. More than twice as many Millennials than those in older age brackets, for example, are willing ‘to encounter danger in pursuit of excitement’.

The Millennial generation also knows how to deal with problems that arise from new technologies, and see failure as part of learning and progress. This is in part because they grew up with technology, so to them it is much more just a normal part of life.

They travel much more than their older counterparts did, and business travel is an opportunity not an inconvenience. So understanding the mechanics of Millennial travel is important in considering corporate travel platforms that support visibility, insight and analysis.

Are you being left behind?

Innovation for the sake of innovation has little value. Technology should provide direct benefits to businesses and customers, and organisations should know what those are before diving in. Smart, responsible use of technology is more important to success than being among the first ones to use it.

So, as long as uptake is measured, intentional and strategic, and not driven by inertia, fear or a lack of understanding, it’s highly likely new technology will have a positive effect on businesses.

And while Millennials will have the latest gadgets, more than half of CFOs are investing in dashboards and analytic technologies. C-Suite leaders, it appears, are staring to realise they need to understand and manage IT better, making sure companies have the right platforms to meet their specific needs.

The corporate travel management industry is a good example of how new technologies are squaring the generational circle and helping senior managers trim costs and drive business development.

This was a viewpoint by Ross Fastuca, CIO and cofounder, Travelport Locomote.
Image by BigStock.

Opinions and views expressed by all guest contributors do not necessarily reflect those of Tnooz, its writers, or its partners.

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Viewpoints

About the Writer :: Viewpoints

A founding principle of tnooz was a diversity of viewpoints from across the spectrum. Viewpoints are articles by guest contributors from around the travel and hospitality industries.

 

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